Tombers is the President of Intermat,
Inc., a consulting practice that specializes in the intersection
of media, technology and marketing. For two years, he produced
the Emmys on the Web and supervised web related activities for
the Academy, including for the 50th Anniversary year of the
Emmy Awards. In addition to its consulting engagements, Intermat
recently sold METEORS TALE, an unpublished novel by Michael
ORourke, to Animal Planet for development as a television
movie. Visit his
web site at http://www.intermat.tv
A Kinder, Gentler City?
By Mat Tombers
About a week ago, the New York Times reported on a study that
talked about the changes in race relations that had come from
9/11. The report, widely discussed both in the newspapers
and on most television newscasts, had determined that race
relations within New York City and particularly in Manhattan
had never been better.
It has been a conversation piece at dinner parties and at
lunches between people of all races and backgrounds, color,
creed and sexual orientation.
It is true, people feel, that relations between the races
have never been better, particularly in Manhattan. It seemed
a common experience among racial groups that they were being
more respectfully treated by the white population. As one
man put it: everyone is treating everyone else with the thought
in the back of their minds that the other person is someone
who might just be the one to help them out of a burning building.
So every ethnic group is treating every other ethnic group
with greater respect because we all think we are going to
need each other in another crisis. This is not necessarily
a bad thing; nor is it necessarily a good thing. Has it taken
reality of a common threat to make us treat each other respectfully?
Some people think that we are being better with each other
on a temporary basis; that this will all fade with time. It
is, of course, possible and may be even probable but there
is a part of me that does not think so. A very large part.
The news pundits seem evenly divided on the subject. The civic
natter of the city also seems evenly divided.
Tripp is among those who are somewhat cynical. As if, my friend
of Bangladeshi descent, believes we are, in general, better
to one another but that it might fade. That it will probably
fade. But, he feels, that at least for now, we are kinder
to one another.
Racial hatred seems a bit on the irrelevant side when you
look at the statistics of who died on September 11th. Something
like 86 nations were represented among the victims, and probably
every ethnicity. So, today, we are kinder to one another.
It is part, I think, of a fragility we feel amongst ourselves.
I am continually dazzled by the number of New Yorkers who
have not ventured south of 14th Street because they cannot,
simply cannot. So, looking about since all the reporters began
speaking about this kinder, gentler city and I see it. A different
kind of respect for one another, among races. It is something
that I wished would infuse the rest of America and something
I wish would move on to other issues. Yesterday morning on
the treadmill I watched Linda Ellerbee defend herself because
she had produced a program for Nickelodeon about children
of same sex households. Without seeing the program, it had
been condemned by a number of groups who seemed to effectively
organize a campaign against it.
I thought: why? For God's sake, haven't we learned to focus
on bigger issues? But not everywhere. There are still individuals
who despise immigrants and aren't ashamed to say so. But there
also seem to be more people who say to those narrow minded
souls [at least in my humble opinion] stop!
There is still racial disharmony and then, of course, there
is the Mid East which seems more explosive than ever. But
it warms me when I see any little sign of change, of something
getting better. It was men with planes who did the deed on
September 11th but it was hate that brought down the Twin